Han Dynasty Terracotta Statuette of a Rabbit

£ 1,350.00

A finely sculpted Han Dynasty hollow-moulded terracotta statuette, depicting a naturalistically rendered rabbit in a recumbent pose. The animal’s head is lowered to the ground, whilst its long ears are pricked back and enhanced by bright pink pigment. Much attention was given to the rendering of the facial features, such as eyes, ears and mouths, which are picked out in pinkish-red and black pigments. The mouths is further decorated with few confident brush strokes, intimating rabbit whiskers. The original pigments, still perfectly visible on the statuette’s surface, would have been applied after firing, with the result that they would have been more prone to flaking. However, in this case, the original colours have preserved themselves extremely fine, maintaining their original brightness.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

Date: Circa 202 BC- 220 AD
Period: Han Dynasty
Condition: Extremely fine, with original pigmentation visible to the surface.


Both the quantity and quality of ancient Chinese terracotta figurines reached their peak in the Han Dynasty. During this period, a wide variety of terracotta figurines, reflecting different identities and services, were finely executed in great detail, and then placed in burials. Ostentatiously displaying such goods, known as mingqi (冥器) in Chinese, inside the tombs was not only to embellish funeral offerings, but also to further their services to the tomb owners in the afterlife. Mingqi were usually modelled as an intimation of either common objects that once played a vital role in the domestic life, or as zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, that were closely related to the deceased when they were alive. Zoomorphic terracotta figurines with naturalistically rendered features and details had been absent in Chinese burial history until the advent of the Western Han Dynasty. Pottery images of rabbits were popular in Han graves, as they not only indicated longevity and cleverness, but were also believed to be symbols of the moon.

To discover more about Chinese terracotta statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

Weight 3000 g
Dimensions L 30.5 x W 21 x H 16 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

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